Six of the 15 Cook Islands are designated as the NORTHERN GROUP


That's how the Northern Group islands have been described. They include the largest atoll in the Cooks, PENRHYN - also known as Tongareva - and the island with the smallest population, SUWARROW where there are just two resident caretakers (and even they leave during the cyclone season)! PUKAPUKA and its tiny "suburb" of NASSAU are nearer to Samoa than the capital island of Rarotonga in the Southern Group. Pukapuka even has its own language. But don't visit Nassau in July and August, because everyone leaves for two months to join in the annual constitution celebrations on Rarotonga. The other islands in the Northern group are MANIHIKI which is famed for black pearl farming and RAKAHANGA which is hardly ever visited by outsiders and is very difficult to get to. Both are also under serious threat from rising sea levels caused by global warming

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